Sunday, February 5

My Frugal Miser - January Expenses: $3,070


January wasn't a bad month for spending.  I had a super-high water bill ($433) from the slab leak, even after the utility company took $300 off the bill.  I paid for an Airbnb for our summer Iceland trip and had some expenses from the cruise.  None of the other expenses were out of the ordinary.

Notice that I spent nothing on gas.  I used the Carnival gift card hack to get free gas at Shell using the Fuel Rewards program.

January Expenses:  $3,070

$456 Auto ($0 gas, $0 repairs/maintenance, $456 depreciation)
$0 Bank Fees
$191 Clothing
$0 Computer
$457 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$177 Food
$0 Gifts Given
$11 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$25 Health and Dental Insurance (prepaid 2017 health insurance premiums in December 2016)
$0 Investment Expense
$227 Interest Expense*
$35 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$0 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$0 Sharing Economy Expenses (dedicated phone, tolls, car washes, etc.)
$658 Utilities
$832 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In January, I paid $186 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock. 

Friday, February 3

My Frugal Miser - January Income: $13,041


January continues the trend of healthy income.

I received rent from every property last month, but my February rental income will decline because I now have a vacant property.

Amazon Flex income was down for two reasons.  First, I worked more hospitality jobs and we went on a five day cruise.  Second, with all the new drivers that were hired before the holidays, it is now harder to get hours when I am available to work.

I also made a small amount of side income from rideshare.  I did a few rides on NYE and worked one Monday morning.

On the passive investing side, I received $1,100 in dividends from Vereit (my largest position).  I also made a fast $582 on a short-sale of Sears Holdings:  I shorted the shares on a Friday and closed out my position on the following Monday.

January Income: $13,041

$1,940 Mystery Shopping and Hospitality Jobs
$193 Uber
$55 Lyft
$3 Postmates
$1,936 Amazon Deliveries
$6,991 Rental Income
$1,115 Dividends and Interest (Investment Accounts)
$582 Realized Gains (Losses) on Investments
$227 Other Sources

Notes:  
  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.
  • I include merchandising and hospitality work in the mystery shopping category since the companies that I shop for provide this extra side work. 

Friday, January 27

Caribbean Cruise, Among Other Things...

Secluded Cozumel Beach
January begins the peak season for meeting and convention work.  Carnival's casino division offered me a sweet deal on a cruise though, so we spent five days aboard the Carnival Paradise earlier this month before kicking off a series of meeting jobs.

Vacation

Our cruise departed from Tampa, which made it a very convenient Lyft ride to the port.  We were supposed to visit Cozumel and Grand Cayman, but the weather was too bad to tender at Grand Cayman and the captain canceled that port day.  Even so, we had a blast.  We did the Behind the Fun onboard excursion, where we got to tour the crew areas, engine control room and bridge.  We even had our photo taken with the captain.  In Cozumel we rented mopeds and drove around the island for a few hours.  It was so much fun, and the vacation was very budget-friendly because I booked the casino rate:  $100 + tax per person and a $100 onboard credit.

Work

January has been a busy month for hospitality work.  I completed two multi-day pharmaceutical programs.  Both meetings included meals, mileage reimbursement and a hotel room, so my pay was 100% profit.  Today we started another program, one I do each year.  Our hotel isn't included, but all meals are provided.  We (my partner and I, who is also working the event) booked a $35/night room.  We finish this meeting on Wednesday and start another meeting on Sunday.  

Amazon Flex has been slow.  There are too many drivers and it has been difficult to get hours.  I try every chance I get, but fortunately the hospitality work has kept me busy.  I also drove for Uber and Lyft twice this month.  On New Year's I worked about 2 hours and gave 5 rides for $187 in fares.

It's a busy time of year.  After we finish our meeting work - we have another program that ends on February 11th - we will head to Birmingham to work on an empty rental property.  No rest for the weary!

Monday, January 9

My Frugal Miser - December Expenses: $8,267


I spent a lot in December.  Fortunately much of the spending was one-time in nature.  I switched health insurance plans, and was offered a one-time chance to pay my premiums with a credit card.  To maximize my rewards, I charged 12 months of health insurance premiums all at once.  I also paid over $2,000 for a dental implant.  In entertainment, I lost $500 gambling on our early December cruise.  The balance of that category was spent purchasing tickets to several events we will attend in 2017.  I had an expensive home repair.  I got a $800+ water bill (not paid yet) and had to pay to have a slab leak repaired.  In food, I bought $200 worth of gift cards to take advantage of holiday bonuses.

December Expenses:  $8,267

$1,381 Auto ($0 gas, $4 repairs/maintenance, $1,377 depreciation)
$0 Bank Fees
$6 Clothing
$0 Computer
$946 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$410 Food
$52 Gifts Given
$817 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$1,381 Health and Dental Insurance (prepaid all of 2017 premiums)
$0 Investment Expense
$504 Interest Expense*
$2,198 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$8 Personal Care
$35 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$21 Sharing Economy Expenses (dedicated phone, tolls, car washes, etc.)
$239 Utilities
$241 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In December, I paid $490 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock.